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Old 07-06-2012, 18:46   #1
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Belize 43 Survey

Hi guys I am having a Belize 43 surveyed very shortly and wanted to ask in your collective opinions what things in particular should we look out for.
I understand that all models have their unique quirks and problems so maybe some current or past Belize 43 owners might care to advise from their experience of ownership.
Kind regards
Wayne
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:58   #2
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Re: Belize 43 survey

I'm not aware of any 'model defects' that span all 174 Belizes that were made by FP. So you need to be looking for normal gelcoat/fiberglass issues, engines, and general overall condition. The Belize is a straight forward build, vacuum-bagged, solid glass below the waterline, foam cored above the waterline. During the timeframe of this model, this was a tried and true build method, so any defect found would be individual to that particular vessel.

I would hull it out and look for:

- Blisters and voids below the waterline (hire a qualified surveyor)
- Check to see that the seam between the hull and keel dries, if water continues to drain in one area for more than an hour or so, it could be a sign that the keels needs removed and reseated.
- General condition of the standing rigging, age takes it's toll here.
- Check for water leaking into the hull where the chain plate is bolted on (may require removing ceiling panel in the hull). Check for leaks around rail stanchions, mooring cleats.
- Normal engine/saildrive evaluation. Is the saildrive oil milky color? (indicating water intrusion). Do the engines rev to redline while in neutral? Will the engines rev to 3300-3500 underway?
- Do the electronics work?
- Other general overall condition - hatches leaking, crazed hatch acrylics, windlass, stove, oven, refrigerator, freezer, heads, generator?, AC?, etc.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:51   #3
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Thanks for that DotDun. Yes I have a very good surveyor (hopefully) and he will look out for all the basic things and should be able to identify any problems. It is good to know that so far there does not appear to be any major model issues identified.
Good tip on the hull to keel join. Standing rigging is 10 years old so I know that is an area of concern. Rigging is being surveyed. Surveyor using moisture metre and thermal camera to assist with hulls and superstructure inspections.

If anyone has anything to add I would like to hear from you as well. Any common failings or design problems causing concern with current/past owners.
Kind regards
Wayne
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Old 11-06-2012, 18:11   #4
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Re: Belize 43 survey

First, I'm not trying to start a fight here. Please understand that. In particular with DotDon and other Belize 43 owners.

We chartered a Belize 43 in... Belize! This was about 5 years ago, right before we bought our boat. We wanted to charter a cat to make sure we really wanted a monohull.

If you haven't spent some time on board a Belize 43, I would highly recommend it before buying. I'm not trying to brand all cats as "bad", but we (there were 2 very experienced sailors on board, plus our significant others and our kids) were very underwhelmed by this particular boat.

I've heard from several Belize 43 owners that are/were very happy with their boats. I'm simply suggesting that you make sure before a big decision.
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Old 11-06-2012, 18:44   #5
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Hi Bill thanks for your opinion. That is what this and other Forums are about, peoples ideas, comments and opinions. We collectively and individually are not necessarily going to agree with all postings.That is what makes it such a valuable communication tool, a meltingpot for the expression of ideas. So no fights here!
Now I take your point but sometimes in life one just has to make a decision and inevitably live with the consequences of that decision. I am now prepared to do that but am being assisted by I believe, a very good marine surveyor in that endeavour.
One thing I have learned though that there is no perfect boat whether it has one, two or three hulls! They all have strenghts and weaknesses and upon balance my research and lengthy onboard inspections have led me firmly to the Belize 43. Only time will tell if my decision was right for me and my circumstance.

But I think you probably sum up what you were hoping to achieve before you even set foot on the cat with this statement

''We wanted to charter a cat to make sure we really wanted a monohull.''
and you apparently achieved the outcome that you ultimately set out to achieve which is hardly an impartiall unbiased objective but nevertheless.


By the way out of interest what did you not like about the Belize 43 you chartered in Belize and are you honestly 100% happy with your current choice of boat as nice as it is?
Kind regards
Wayne
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Old 11-06-2012, 20:25   #6
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWayne View Post
By the way out of interest what did you not like about the Belize 43 you chartered in Belize and are you honestly 100% happy with your current choice of boat as nice as it is?
Kind regards
Wayne
Some of the items were related to the charter company TMM. But the ones that were boat related:

1) I'm sure everyone has heard this, but they really aren't "fun" to sail. We are in a performance cruiser now, with most of the real boat comforts and it's a blast offshore in 15-25 kts.

2) The anchor windlass and locker were designed by an idiot. The chain piles up under the windlass, and unless you kick it over, it jams into the windlass, requiring a hammer to dislodge. It also involves feet or hands in and around a turning windlass, which is a no-no for us (wife had a previous incident with a windlass). The folks at TMM told us this was common for all B 43s.

3) There were something like 20 thru-hulls, all near the waterline. We spent 10 days in Belize cleaning thru-hulls and strainers on multiple times per day basis.

4) The boat has a somewhat disconcerting "shimmy" in waves.

5) The cockpit seated about 20, but none comfortably, and none with a view. A common comment was that it was like being in the rear facing seat of a stationwagon. As well, at anchor, there was NO breeze in the hot cockpit.

6) The seat bottoms in the salon had failed, and the boat was only about 4 months old. Easy fix, but unexpected on a new boat.

7) Some genius had configured the generator and A/C (we needed it...) so that only the salon OR the cabins could be on at the same time. Stepping up to 10KW would have solved this.

8) The tramps were VERY uncomfortable. With high school and college age kids, the tramps were the single most appealing thing on the boat - and they couldn't be used without a floating mattress (another charter gave them to us, specifically for that reason).

9) For the age of the boat, it had a lot of cosmetic problems. It just didn't seem up to the abuse charterers give a boat.

10) Back to the thru-hulls - it seems like the most irritating thing about the thru hulls is that several were located under bunks. Tearing up a bunk in the middle of the night to clear weed out of an unnecessary elbow, just isn't right.

As you noted, every boat is a compromise. Yes, we were pretty much on the "Mono" side of things, but we were really hoping to come away with a new appreciation of cats. It just didn't happen. I can't see us chartering another one - and honestly, neither can she.
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Old 11-06-2012, 20:57   #7
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Thanks Bill for your well constructed and laid out comments. You raise some good points most of which I really cant argue about from experience as I don't have that Belize 43 experience... yet. Hopefully some of the other 173 owners or past owners will chime in here with their views on your points based on their actual experiences. Maybe some tested solutions to these problems have already been put in place by Belize owners as they seem to be a practical lot, like most yachties.That way we all get to learn a little more each day which is how it should be. Slight digression here but it does seem an abject shame that by the time we get to the end of our respective lives we have accumulated all this invaluable knowledge and it just generally disappears along with us.
Ahh but the memories of those who shared our journeys linger on long after we are gone so maybe not all is lost.
Anyhow back to the now and hoping someone can add some constructive comments re the points you have raised.
Kind regards
Wayne
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:15   #8
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Some of the items were related to the charter company TMM. But the ones that were boat related:
Agree with Wayne, the search was to conclude the dislike for cats.

Different strokes for different folks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
1) I'm sure everyone has heard this, but they really aren't "fun" to sail. We are in a performance cruiser now, with most of the real boat comforts and it's a blast offshore in 15-25 kts.
See attached photo, I enjoy 11.7kts sog with 16.7kts aws on the beam. Oh yeah, I didn't have to hold on to my drink, nor was I falling off the seat. (sorry for the glare, dumb Mac Book Pro!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
2) The anchor windlass and locker were designed by an idiot. The chain piles up under the windlass, and unless you kick it over, it jams into the windlass, requiring a hammer to dislodge. It also involves feet or hands in and around a turning windlass, which is a no-no for us (wife had a previous incident with a windlass). The folks at TMM told us this was common for all B 43s.
My father taught me to keep fingers away from a running windlass! Yep, the chain will sometimes pile up under the windlass, it takes 1 second to fix, we live with it.

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
3) There were something like 20 thru-hulls, all near the waterline. We spent 10 days in Belize cleaning thru-hulls and strainers on multiple times per day basis.
20? At the waterline? Really?

Let's see, FP installed one for each head, one for the salt water in the galley, that's 3, all ~15" deep. The engine raw water comes thru the sail drives at ~24" deep, grass should not get down there unless the navigator/helmsman is at fault.

Aftermarket, one for each air conditioner (3?), and one for the generator. That 3 maybe 4, depending on how many ACs (which could share them). It sounds like the AC/Genset installation was less than perfect, not FP's fault.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
4) The boat has a somewhat disconcerting "shimmy" in waves.
Put the sail drives in gear! I would guess you were feeling the (unbalanced?) fixed props spinning. Cats don't feel like monohulls, cats bounce around on the waves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
5) The cockpit seated about 20, but none comfortably, and none with a view. A common comment was that it was like being in the rear facing seat of a stationwagon. As well, at anchor, there was NO breeze in the hot cockpit.
You can see thru the salon on the Belize, unlike many cats on the market. Different than a mono, you can see out from the salon, unlike the dungeon feeling on a mono!

Comfort? Use cushions! I don't think cat fiberglass is any harder than mono fiberglass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
6) The seat bottoms in the salon had failed, and the boat was only about 4 months old. Easy fix, but unexpected on a new boat.
A TMM problem, even if it was a warranty issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
7) Some genius had configured the generator and A/C (we needed it...) so that only the salon OR the cabins could be on at the same time. Stepping up to 10KW would have solved this.
How is that a FP problem? I run (2) 16kbtu, plus toaster, coffee maker, microwave all on a 7.6k genny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
8) The tramps were VERY uncomfortable. With high school and college age kids, the tramps were the single most appealing thing on the boat - and they couldn't be used without a floating mattress (another charter gave them to us, specifically for that reason).
The net on a cat is there for a reason, let the water drain quickly. A closed net will hold the water longer, not a good thing if you are blue water cruising. Only newbies love laying on the net, hence we give 'em a cushion (one from the cockpit seats that you were apparently missing).

BTW, the net isn't welded on, you can change it to one of your liking at any time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
9) For the age of the boat, it had a lot of cosmetic problems. It just didn't seem up to the abuse charterers give a boat.
Bet is wasn't like that when it left France. Hmm, salon seats broken, cosmetic issues, someone was hard on that boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
10) Back to the thru-hulls - it seems like the most irritating thing about the thru hulls is that several were located under bunks. Tearing up a bunk in the middle of the night to clear weed out of an unnecessary elbow, just isn't right.
I clean my AC raw water strainers once every 6 months whether they need it or not. Don't blame FP for aftermarket idiot installers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
As you noted, every boat is a compromise. Yes, we were pretty much on the "Mono" side of things, but we were really hoping to come away with a new appreciation of cats. It just didn't happen. I can't see us chartering another one - and honestly, neither can she.
It sounds like you accomplished your goal!
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Old 12-06-2012, 15:25   #9
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Back to the real issues of the Belize folks!
I have sailed our Belize for five years and believe I know the boat fairly well.
Problem areas:
1 The saloon door arrangement really has been designed by an apprentice on a Monday! It leaks water into the saloon if water rais or is sprayed onto the door. I have been in contact with FP via the Scandinavian agent and the only answer was - don't try and remove the framework to mend the problem. I have now a solid bimini with clears aroind so no problem any more.

2 The CLD galley fridge/freezer compressor system supplier is no longer in exisitence and some of it has been bought by Webasto France. Parts will be difficult to get!

3 Because of the short distance between the saildrives and rudders the boat cannot be equipped with folding props of any kind. Autoprop is the only type that can be used. These are very expensive and requires removal, maintenace and regreasing yearly.

4 Not really a Belize or FP problem as such, but the exhaust systems hoses are laid out with too much bend on the rise, this has caused water leakage on my starbord engine. The Vetus muffler is also in my opinon lacking capacity so the exhaust noise is too high. I'm in the process of replacing the entire system. The new system will comprise Halyard'sfibreglass silencers and a water separator. This system is claimed by Halyard to lower the noise by as much as 80 percent.

5 Some of the floorboard support structures in the hulls are somewhat weak and may require reinforcement.

That's about it for negatives.

Positives:
1 The general build of the boat in my opinion is very good! And I would sayprobably the best in any in the FP range! Reason being that it does not have the squiky noise in the joinery that the newer models have. I have sailed Lucky in heavy seas on the nose with up to 40 knots wind with no reef and she handles it quite OK. This is not something one should do as she would have done far better with two reefs in tje main and three to four dots rolled in on the heady. But at the time I wanted a stress test with she passed very nicely.

3 I have no taken down the mast for fitting of some equipment and have done a thorough check on the entire mast and standing rigg. All past my inspection with no problems. The croming of the turnbucles is slightly cracked and I have the mainstay turnbucles recromed before reinstalling the mast. The mast is weighing in at 450 kg! Must be solid and strong!

4 She sails very comfortable in a seaway and will not toss you around if the sqilare used matches the wind.

I have no plans of replacing our Belize with anything else. For the price I believe you get the best boat for your money. And remember this si a real cruisers boat, but still can lift her skirt and give you exhilarating sailing.

Good luck with your hunting

Happy lead free sailin
Lucky
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Old 12-06-2012, 18:02   #10
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Quote:
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Agree with Wayne, the search was to conclude the dislike for cats.

Different strokes for different folks!
Yep - and as I noted, I really don't want to start a mono vs. multi debate. Heck, at least give me credit for being somewhat open minded!

While some of the problems were TMM or boat specific problems, most folks get their first taste of a cat on a charter. Ours was. I'd not really looked hard at one, nor had we been sailing on a big cat before.

The above being said, if we'd chartered and fallen in love (or if SHE had fallen in love), we'd have bought a cat. Way more important to keep her happy than anything else.

I'll now bow out.
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Old 13-06-2012, 03:08   #11
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Re: Belize 43 survey

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See attached photo, I enjoy 11.7kts sog with 16.7kts aws on the beam. Oh yeah, I didn't have to hold on to my drink, nor was I falling off the seat. (sorry for the glare, dumb Mac Book Pro!)
DotDun that is very impressive, now tell me you were fully loaded with full cruising complement, water. fuel and at least 10 crew plus 2 dirty bottoms!!

They are informative answers to the points that were raised and I for one am now a little wiser. Sure glad about the through hulls. Guess I will have only 7 to contend with. Out of interest is it common practice to keep the appropriate sized wooden bungs alongside each of these through hulls?

Quote:
How is that a FP problem? I run (2) 16kbtu, plus toaster, coffee maker, microwave all on a 7.6k genny.
My genny is 7.2k and 2 Cruisairs so I should have enough juice, nice to have that confirmed.

Just on the chain piling up under the windlass does that mean that in practical terms you must always have someone forward when retrieving the anchor. Therefore it could not be done by remote from the helm with only the skipper aboard? It that is the case I will have to try and workout some way of overcoming this, hopefully.
Wayne
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Old 13-06-2012, 03:41   #12
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Thanks Lucky as well for some worthwhile advice on the the good and the bad aspects of the Belize.
I sure would like to see some photos of that hardtop bimini as it is high on my list to add when funds are available. Who designed it where was it built?
Also will be keen to know how you get on with the Halyard system when installed.

Quote:
I have no plans of replacing our Belize with anything else.
For the price I believe you get the best boat for your money. And remember this si a real cruisers boat, but still can lift her skirt and give you exhilarating sailing.
I also came to this conclusion in terms of the Belize appears to be a hell of a lot of boat for the money and I sure am keen to get out there and ''lift her skirts''.

Wayne
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Old 13-06-2012, 03:51   #13
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Re: Belize 43 survey

Bill Thank you for stimulating some informative commentary.
There is definitely no debate here about monos and multis on this little forum.

Quote:
I'll now bow out.

See if you had bought a cat you would have had to bow out 2 times!!

To each their own!

Regards
Wayne
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Old 13-06-2012, 06:57   #14
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Re: Belize 43 survey

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DotDun that is very impressive, now tell me you were fully loaded with full cruising complement, water. fuel and at least 10 crew plus 2 dirty bottoms!!
About 1/2 load with just 2 of us, and the bottom gets cleaned monthly.

Don't expect that to be average performance, obviously conditions were perfect. (Nobody would take pics of average performance!)

Quote:
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They are informative answers to the points that were raised and I for one am now a little wiser. Sure glad about the through hulls. Guess I will have only 7 to contend with. Out of interest is it common practice to keep the appropriate sized wooden bungs alongside each of these through hulls?
They are on the boat, but not next to each thru hull.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWayne View Post
My genny is 7.2k and 2 Cruisairs so I should have enough juice, nice to have that confirmed.

Just on the chain piling up under the windlass does that mean that in practical terms you must always have someone forward when retrieving the anchor. Therefore it could not be done by remote from the helm with only the skipper aboard? It that is the case I will have to try and workout some way of overcoming this, hopefully.
Wayne
In practice, it's pretty hard to raise the anchor single-handed. One can't see the chain from the helm and you shouldn't pull the boat with the windlass. For us it's a two person job. We have 200' of 3/8 BBB chain, the locker is plenty big enough, but the chain will pile up directly under the windlass. Since we are right there, we'll stop pulling in chain, reach back and knock over the 'pile', then continue. It's just habit for us now.
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Old 13-06-2012, 12:54   #15
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Re: Belize 43 survey

I'll post some pic's from the bimini tomorrow. It's all my own design and partly built by myself and a friend who's a professional boatie. The ekstra room provided by this addition is fantastic, especially with the climate in Scandinavia. As the admiral said - this is really a room with a view!

Happy lead free sailin
Lucky
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